Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in KC: It Ain't Home, but It's Almost Worth the Wait
Last week after the All-Star Game, Kansas City barbecue got the full hash tag treatment from visiting sports writers. I just so happened to be in KC this weekend and, based on Twitter-sphere, recommendations from friends and an editor, I told my hosts I had visit to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. They didn't argue.
Oklahoma Joe's recently made Men's Health Manliest Restaurant ballot -- going up against Tim Love's Woodshed. And Anthony Bourdain included the gas station spot in his list of 13 places to eat before you die. Billy Butler even showed up at the Leawood location (which is supposedly not as good as the original) on Friday.
When we arrived around 1:15 p.m. on a Friday, the line stretched all the way through the dining room, out the double doors and about 20 feet along the sidewalk. We placed our order at the counter at 2 p.m. Normally, I wouldn't even slow the padded wagon down for a line that was out the door. But, I had been previously warned so was mentally prepared for it.
The good thing is, you get your food almost immediately after you order. The bummer was that they didn't have burnt-end sandwiches, which I'd heard was a regular weekday lunch special. So, instead I went with the Z-Man Sandwich with thin slices of smoked brisket, melted provolone and three crunchy, thick onion rings on a toasted Kaiser bun. I know -- cheese and onion rings?. Sounds crazy for barbecue, but I didn't have my Texas-barbecue hat on. I was trying to be open-minded. Clean slate. Actually, you could say my standards were lowered because I've eaten KC barbecue before (boom!).
I slathered on the molasses-rich sauce and devoured every morsel of the sandwich. It wasn't a transcendental experience or anything, though, because the waiting situation would make anyone ravenous once she finally got to sit down and eat. But I thoroughly enjoyed the sandwich. Admittedly, I'm a total homer when it comes to barbecue (Zimmerhanzel's in Smithville, Texas, to be clear), but this is a pretty cool spot for a KC visit. Here are a few more pics.
Random person's ribs.
A different perspective: the Z-Man all smushed together.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Dallas dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.